Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Musings: On Writing Hats and Tea

This was not the post I intended to write this week on the Wither Inspiration Series. I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my widgets and blog and computer and, well, life in general, which forced me to come up with a rather hasty Plan B. This will be, perhaps, a more light-hearted and whimsical take on my creative process which has nothing to do with Wither in and of itself, but everything to do with how I prepared myself for writing it. I hope to have the nasties worked out by next week so that I can continue with this series as I originally intended.

As artists, we all have a system. A pattern. A favorite chair. Or sweater. Or hat. Or routine. I've read so many books on how to write well, and most of them seem to concur that a regular routine is vital. Although I cannot claim to having a regular routine, as my writing is mashed in between work and church and family and home improvements, I do have a system. Today, I'm going to share the components I need to set the mood before I can even begin writing. It is often difficult for me to get into the writing mood, but these four things are a must for even the most blah writing days.


It all begins with the Tea. In a particular cup. It can be any flavor of tea, but it must go in the Cup. Unless that cup has been contaminated by a fur face, in which case I have a trusty backup. Honestly, in this household, I end up using the backup more often than not.


The Tea is followed by the Cat, who is not an invited part of my writing day. The Cat merely accompanies the appearance of the Tea. She usually brings a friend, and then squabbles over who gets to be on the front lines of the assault. When thwarted in the tea theft, or after being swatted for succeeding, the Cat ends up in my lap or behind the computer. Toady, in the picture above, is modeling her "Thwarted" expression for us. She most graciously agreed to pose for me today in order to assist in this post.


Next comes the mood Music. I especially enjoy Celtic CD's and movie soundtracks, as they tend to be a bit epic and less distracting than my other albums. On a really bad day, I like to turn the TV on in the background and listen to Disney, musicals, or a BBC miniseries. I also enjoy creating playlists specifically designed for the project I am working on. Josh Groban is one of the few artists who somehow ends up in every playlist I create. Casting Crowns is another group I particularly find inspiring, as well as all of the LOTR soundtracks. I've been especially enjoying the ones from the Hobbit trilogy of late.


Lastly, I have a writing Hat. Actually, I have MANY writing hats to fit my many writing moods. I have quite a broad spectrum of interests and a hat to go with almost every one of them. There is the Sleeping Hat, the Newsies Hat, the Civil War Hat, the Cowgirl Hat...I could go on, but I think you get the idea. My husband has a nice collection of hats, too, and there is one in particular I like to borrow when he isn't home. I call it the Neal Caffrey Hat (from White Collar). I really, really want a Jack Sparrow hat someday, but I haven't managed to sneak a pirate hat into the collection yet. I decided I simply had to share a picture of the Neal Caffrey Hat, since I mentioned it, but don't tell my husband I pilfer it when he is gone.

The Tea, the Cat, the Music, and the Hat: all this just so that I can begin writing. You can see why my writing tends toward the sporadic. Often, by the time I get all my cats in a row, I decide I'm hungry and put away my writing hat and trot off to the kitchen in search of something sweet. Cookie dough will suit just fine, thank you very much. No need to ruin it with baking.

Does anyone else have a routine like mine? I would love to hear about it!


  1. Mine is similar. In order to write, I must start by setting up my laptop desk in my room. There is just something about writing while sitting in bed in the semi-dark that gets the creative juices flowing! Then I need my cup of hot tea(or sometimes coffee). I almost always listen to mood music and even when I don't I MUST be wearing my headphones. It just feels all wrong without them. Then, when possible, I join my writer friends on google chat or skype, because it's always more fun to work alongside others :)

    1. That sounds like fun, chatting with your writing friends. I am so easily distracted I don't know if I dare try that. I would never write a word ;) having a support group makes all the difference.

  2. Love it! I agree about the epic music. I'm listening to Gladiator and Lord of the Rings trilogy and For King and Country. My little daughter told me it is far too sad :) I've never tried the hat. Too fun. Coffee for me! and your pins by the way! Looks like some fantastic stories on the horizon. If I'm really desperate - I draw the character. Looking forward to Wither.

    1. Pinterest has become a great way for me to step back and look for a fresh perspective. I like to draw too but I am not much good

  3. I'm not very into tea, but I am obsessed with hot chocolate, so that's always a must for me. It's probably not that healthy, but oh well. :) Music isn't necessarily a MUST for me, but when I'm in the mood for it, it can really help. I love the soundtracks from The Hobbit and LOTR trilogies. Songs by Casting Crown are also really good, too. Actually, any Christian contemporary song works for me-especially when it's by Jamie Grace, Mandisa or Switchfoot.

    1. I'm convinced chocolate is good for you. Don't let anybody tell you different ;)